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Cocktail Reception / Exhibits Open

Join the SPE Thermoset Division at the exhibit area for a networking reception with the industry's finest. Speakers, sponsors and exhibitors will meet for cocktails and appetizers immediately after the conference. Located in the Grand Ballroom foyer among the exhibits at the beautiful Belmond Charleston Hotel.

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Intelligent Industrial Automation: Using Your Thermoset Process Data to Solve Quality, Downtime and Production Problems

Every engineer dreams about having perfect transparency in their thermoset manufacturing process to continuously improve production efficiency and quality. Using data is the key to optimizing recipes, quality, and capacity to ensure factories stay competitive.
The problem is that data tends to live and die in the equipment, without being recorded or utilized anywhere. Acquisition requires months of hard-wiring your factory into PCs on top of burdensome installation costs. The resulting data is raw, inconsistent, and hard to translate into insights.
The latest technological advancements we take for granted in the rest of our lives —rising processing power, decreasing computing cost, abundant wireless connectivity, and limitless cloud storage—is finally available in the form of Industry 4.0 to make your existing equipment truly digital. Now you can collect and analyze data from all your existing machines and sensors simply by attaching small transmitters to serial ports. Monitor all the metrics you value, together, in real time. Increase the efficiency and value of your existing factory lines. No lengthy IT projects, hardwired networks, or new equipment required

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Chitan Nanowhisker: Novel Bio-Based Nano-Reinforcement for Thermoset Applications

BOCO Bio-Nanotechnologies Inc. is the world’s first commercial producer of chitin nano-whisker (CNW), a fully bio-based, and bio-degradable nanomaterial derived from fishing waste. Sustainably and economically extracted from crab/shrimp shells, CNW exhibits ultra-high strength, toughness, low density, biocompatibility, barrier, antimicrobial properties and more. It allows CNW to have a diverse range of applications across many industrial sectors such as plastics, composites, adhesives, biomedical devices, 3D printing, energy conversion and storage etc.

This talk discusses the latest development of CNW used as nano-reinforcement for epoxy applications. Specifically bio-nanocomposites based on CNW and diglycidyl ether of bisphenol A (DGEBA) epoxy. The resultant bio-nanocomposites exhibits simultaneous enhancements in tensile strength, modulus, toughness and elongation to break while maintaining optical clarity; a rare observation for ridged filler/thermoset composite systems. We hypothesize that beyond the functions of a rigid nano-filler, CNW could function as macromolecular polyamine hardener due to its surface amine groups. The superior composite performance is explained by the strong interfacial compatibility facilitating much more efficient load transfer between matrix and CNW.

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Variables Affecting the Weatherability of a Molded-in-Color Composite: Clearing Up Some Common Dilemmas

Have you ever formulated a fiberglass composite that you expected to weather well – and encountered surprising (and unpleasant) results? Perhaps the system weathered well in accelerated testing, but fell apart outdoors – or vice versa. There are many possible causes. For example, will texturing – or lack thereof – affect these results? Are we using an accelerated test method that is most appropriate for the application? Can we use an “accelerated-accelerated” test to save time (and money)? In the interest of controlling cost, what changes can I make to my formulation or process without compromising quality? This paper identifies several misunderstandings that can adversely affect weatherability, identifies the underlying causes, and offers solutions to everyday dilemmas.

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Evolution of Thermosets in the Marketplace

Considerations for application, design, material/product conversion & consolidation, along with thermoset material performance has evolved from basic shell cosmetic covers to highly engineered-complex parts with integrated design elements to support structural, functional, cosmetic, and accessory requirements. It has become critical to quantify total end product performance requirements while placing a qualitative metric to primary, secondary, and tertiary needs to not only ensure the primary goals of the OEM’s products are being met; but also, engineered solutions for mating components and conversion solutions are identified – which will only promote the integration of thermosets where they may not have previously been considered as a solution. By remaining material agnostic and focusing on the needs of a product/application – providing focused material solutions ranging from bulk-off the shelf material, high-strength, light-weight, impact-resistance, etc. - begins driving the material use based on performance in currently commercialized materials that are proven and readily available. Apart from material selection, providing advance engineering and development at the early design phase supports effective and efficient use of design resources in the DFM process; ultimately making manufacturing in the desired process easier and more efficient.

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Agricultural Equipment: A Study in Styling

As an original equipment manufacturer, John Deere is a leader in steel manufacturing processes.  However, as equipment as equipment grows larger and more productive, it becomes heavier.  OEM's search for solutions to reduce weight, increase performance, and improve appearance yields some interesting composite applications. 
However, not every application in which composites have replaced steel is a success story!  This presentation will be a detailed review of one John Deere application considered to be 'less than successful'.   Assessments defining the TGW 'things gone wrong' will be presented, concluding with a rule of thumb for successful project implementation.

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Controlling Viscosity of Filled Resin Systems

Viscosity is a fluid’s resistance to flow and is critical in thermoset applications. The viscosity of filled resin systems can be problematic with changes in viscosity disrupting the process. Fillers are often used to lower costs, but they may increase the complexity of the system. This paper will discuss filled resin systems and the factors that control suspension viscosity. We will focus on calcium carbonate filled systems and the effects calcium carbonate loading and particle size distribution. The effect of particle size distribution and resulting maximum packing fraction on viscosity will be discussed in detail.

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Unpainted Weather-able Sheet Molding Compound for Pickup Truck Beds

Sheet molding compound (SMC) has been ubiquitous in the automotive industry for decades. Some auto manufacturers have found that SMC is the material of choice for rigorous applications such as a pickup truck bed.  The ability to mold a complex truck bed in one piece instead of many metal parts can reduce both operational complexity and the cost of assembly. The potential for weight reduction relative to metal in such a large part also presents a tantalizing opportunity to the manufacturer.
Any truck bed must deliver a unique combination of high mechanical strength, resistance to weathering, and durability to marring under a very wide range of consumer uses. SMC suitable for such applications is typically painted to meet the outdoor weathering requirements. However, these coatings are not scratch-resistant to the degree needed and can eventually show significant wear when the coating is compromised under normal use conditions. Moreover, painting the truck bed adds cost and environmental impact to this part. 

Herein we report an unpainted SMC with properties suitable for a truck bed application. Besides good weatherability without need of painting, the mechanical properties, fiber reinforcement, and accelerated weathering performance will be discussed.

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Additive Manufacturing Enables Un-Moldable Geometries of Better End Use Products

Carbon is a toolless injection molding machine, creating a new category of manufacturing and accelerating into production. It is the first company to create non-porous parts from materials, comparable to existing thermoplastics in material properties and stability. At the intersection of hardware, software and molecular science, Carbon enables you to manufacture production parts in same material and technology. In this session, we will explore how a top consumer appliance manufacturer redesigned with DLS to make an un-moldable but more efficient end-use product. 

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Metal Replacement in Infrastructure – BMC/SMC Manhole Covers Provide Composite Solution

Replacing metal applications with plastics and composites has long been the goal of raw material suppliers, blenders, and plastics molders. From observing GE Plastics metal conversions to Lexan in the 70’s through my experience with BMCI’s material conversion mission in the 90’s, converting metal to plastic – “organic growth” – was always considered the holy grail as compared to a “share-shift,” which was basically taking existing business from a direct competitor using a lower price or better service. However, the composite material value proposition was not always quite bulletproof enough to push the paradigm away from the safe, apathetic, and incurious position of “it’s always been made with metal, it will always be metal.” And if composite materials did check all the benefit boxes without major detracting ones, the applications themselves were rarely, if ever, a volume that would rival the circuit breaker, headlamp, or valve cover material consumptions. We always quixotically hunted for that next substantial organic conversion chasing many windmills along the way.
We started seeing composite materials used in infrastructure applications primarily in non-US countries for a variety of reasons: corrosion resistance, low weight, and as a theft repellant. Beijing, for instance, suffered in 2004 from the theft of 240,000 manhole covers for their metal scrap content. Within three years several Chinese companies started making composite manhole covers which eliminated the root cause offering no scrap material value. While China’s experience represents the first major volume surge using the composite manhole cover, a UK company reportedly started making access covers with a Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) technology in 1980. Around 2002, the first American company to manufacture and market RTM manhole covers was GMI in Michigan and was owned by Bob Brady until a major iron manhole cover company acquired GMI in 2014.
In addition to manhole covers, metals and other materials have been replaced by plastic and composites throughout water and wastewater infrastructure. Some major examples include Cured-In-Place-Piping (CIPP) for “trenchless” or no-dig pipe rehabilitation and fiber wound septic tanks, manhole tubes, grade rings, lift stations, and grease traps. Beyond just water and wastewater infrastructure, composites have replaced many materials in electrical (underground) transmission & distribution, service stations, parks & recreation, steam, and other underground access points.
This presentation will focus on the conversion of iron manhole covers to composite manhole covers for primarily water and wastewater applications. After initially investigating the benefit and market in 2011, and then starting a company devoted entirely to molding composite manhole covers in 2014, a great deal has evolved and been learned about not only the value proposition but also challenges to enter municipal supply arena. My company, Composite Access Products or CAP, represents the first devoted effort in the USA to manufacture and market traffic-rated, DOT approved, compression-molded BMC/SMC manhole covers and frames. Bringing much deeper and broader formula and application knowledge as compared to current composite manhole cover producers has allowed CAP – with the help of A. Schulman here in the US and Almasrya of Egypt - to enter and quickly disrupt a very mature cast iron market. CAP’s product adds affordability, new end user benefits, and solves the problems of cast iron covers. Furthermore, CAP’s technical depth delivers answers to key concerns that the municipal civil engineers and utility directors have previously lacked to specify composites for municipalities with confidence.
We at CAP feel that the composite manhole cover has such a strong value proposition with a large enough potential material consumption – with some technical and market-entry challenges –that this application could be the next headlamp or circuit breaker for BMC/SMC materials.

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Opening Comments from Len Nunnery

Len Nunnery positions companies for market leadership and sustainable results leveraging extensive technical background to drive worldwide competitive advantage. Possesses deep understanding of market dynamics associated with engineered materials and precision molded components. Globally recognized as a published and patented authority in the reinforced composites/performance plastics space. Proficient in managing sophisticated/technology driven M&A, turnaround, integration and exit.   His specialties are International business development, commercial leadership, mergers & acquisitions, reorganization, integration, expertise in composites, engineered plastics and elastomeric materials / molded components.

Len is currently the vice president of global sales and marketing at Minnesota Rubber and Plastics (MR&P). MR&P, a worldwide manufacturer of engineered rubber and rubber components, also processes LSR and high performance thermoplastics. Since joining the company in 2016, Len led Minnesota Rubber & Plastics to its highest revenue / earnings quarter in 74 year history (Q2, ’18).
In addition, he delivered seven consecutive 8%+ growth quarters (reversing eight quarters of revenue decline).

MR&P is a portfolio company under the sponsorship of KKR (acquired from Norwest Equity Partners (NEP) in October 2018.  KKR is the fourth private equity firm for which Len has provided growth focused leadership in the areas of commercial re-organization, acquisition integration, exit preparation and management presentation.

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Mar-Bal, Inc., headquartered in Chagrin Falls, OH, is the leading integrated compounder and molder of BMC Thermoset composite products and value added finishing services. Since 1970, Mar-Bal has engineered and manufactured quality, customized materials and parts while delivering unmatched client cost-effectiveness through superior customer service and commitment to the total value.

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Rheological Characterization of Thermosets: A Practical Approach

Thermosets are a unique type of polymeric material since the starting materials are typically a liquid or a highly-filled liquid formulation and crosslink during curing to form high glass transition temperature (Tg) and high modulus networks. Rheological methods provide a powerful analytical tool to evaluate both the uncured formulations and follow the build-up of the crosslinked network during curing. The presentation will provide a practical overview of rheological methods used to characterize thermosets. The paper will provide an introduction to the two types of rheometers commonly used to measure thermoset rheology; the controlled stress and controlled strain rheometers. Examples will include the viscosity profiles during dispensing demonstrating shear thinning and thixotropy (time dependence) using a controlled stress rheometer. The origin of the yield point and the practical implications during dispensing will also be highlighted. Thermoset curing may be carefully monitored using controlled strain measurements using oscillatory parallel plate rheometry. Examples will highlight the utility of rheological measurements to probe the network build-up during both isothermal and non-isothermal curing typically experienced during thermoset processing. So as to not scare anyone away, there will be no differential equations or stress tensors to make your head spin!

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APC Plus – A Game Changer for the Processing of Thermosets

Due to several issues, thermosets have been replaced in large part by thermoplastics over the last years. Nowadays thermosets making a comeback, and we see wonderful opportunities in all major industries such as the automotive, aerospace, medical, electro, electronics and outdoor industry. However, process & production technologies have not advanced to efficiencies of thermoplastic molding, and many molders are just doing it the old fashion way – manually.

Thermosets are often used to replace metal parts as they can withstand high temperatures, aggressive media and geometries that requires sub sequential machining (e.g. heavy die casting) can be produced off-tool here. This is a huge economic benefit and long been recognized by the industry. However, many thermoplastic molding companies still don’t dare to enter this territory because of the process experience which is needed to mold good parts.

This paper emphasizes on the challenges of thermoset molding and introduces how this technology can be supported by industry 4.0. Moreover, a recent success story will be presented to the audience which illustrates how a well-known supplier of automotive parts was able to significantly reduce the scrap rate by incorporating an adaptive process control called APC+ when molding parts. Unlike its previous version, APC+ is capable of determining not only the viscosity but also the compressibility of the material within the barrel. As Thermosets often contain a lot of different fillers, APC+ is a game changer with respect to part quality.